Election officials and observers begin counting votes after stations closed for voting in Assagay, near Durban, May 8 2019. Picture: REUTERS/ROGAN WARD
Election officials and observers begin counting votes after stations closed for voting in Assagay, near Durban, May 8 2019. Picture: REUTERS/ROGAN WARD

Voting stations around the country had started to close, except  where people were still queuing, the Electoral Commission of SA  (IEC) said on Wednesday evening. 

Voting stations closed at 9pm and counting commenced after the last voters were processed. The first results are  expected early on Thursday.

Election day, May 8 2019. Subscribe to TimesLIVE here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TimesLive

The commission said it was pleased with the smooth process of voting despite isolated incidents where operations were adversely affected by rain, community unrest, power outages and some logistical challenges.

The IEC said that a thunderstorm in Mangaung in the Free State  had blown away 16 temporary voting stations while heavy rain had made conditions difficult. 

In Nelson Mandela Bay and Craddock in the Eastern Cape heavy rain and winds  also affected operations in more than 30 temporary voting stations.

Power outages hit some voting stations after dark. These included Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal, Vuwani and Giyani in Limpopo and parts of Johannesburg. 

"The nature of the power outages was not immediately apparent but included instances of cable theft, weather-related outages and other unscheduled  interruptions," the IEC said. 

The commission said it had been working with Eskom and local municipalities to restore power to the affected areas.